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A raid by Lewisham Council, to counter the sale of counterfeit DVDs, has netted an estimated 30,000 fake DVDs.
Council officers, a team from the Federation Against Copyright Theft and Lewisham police raided a flat off Loampit Hill in Lewisham yesterday (16 December) and found the massive haul of fake films. Some of the titles have only just gone on general release in cinemas in the last couple of days. These include The Day the Earth Stood Still, Madagascar 2 and Australia.
Lewisham is one of three London boroughs, along with Tower Hamlets and Brent, that recently took part in a new anti-piracy pilot project to make the capital a ‘fake free London’ by 2012, in time for the Olympics.
The multi-agency campaign saw two weeks of activity targeting counterfeit DVD sellers. Staff from Lewisham Council carried out two weeks of intensive activity that focused on itinerant street sellers. Over the period, the Council saw 57 seizures with two people receiving custodial sentences, and more than 9,000 illegal DVDs seized.
It was intelligence information received from the ‘fake free’ campaign that led to yesterday’s successful raid.
Councillor Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: “This raid has yielded another fantastic result. More of these illegal copies are off the streets.
“I was very proud that Lewisham was chosen as one of the pilot boroughs for the ‘Fake Free London’ campaign. The Council has a strong commitment working to expose counterfeit DVD factories, and itinerant sellers. We have a good track record working on raids with the police and we aim for that to continue.
“Unfortunately, while counterfeit DVDs can seem like a bargain, often the quality is appalling. Sadly, I think that most people who might buy them don’t realise that their money goes straight back to organised crime syndicates, which fund the illegal copying factories and distribution centres like the one raided yesterday. What people may not also realise is that their money is going directly towards funding prostitution, people trafficking, drugs and the making and supply of pornographic material – and that can mean the most hardcore pornography. Help us put these people out of business – the next time you’re offered a counterfeit DVD – don’t buy it.”
FACT Director General, Kieron Sharp, said: “The trade in counterfeit DVDs brings harm to local communities and threatens local businesses and legitimate market traders.
“I would like to thank the Lewisham Council team and the police for their assistance and their continued efforts to tackle this problem.”
To report the manufacture or sale of counterfeit DVDs call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods team.